Apple Cider Caramels – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Soft and chewy, these tasty apple cider caramels have amazing caramel apple flavor thanks to the apple cider that boils down until syrupy.

Homemade caramels are easier than you think, which is great, because you don’t want to miss out on these apple cider caramels! I’m giving you tons of tips and tricks so ensure your caramels turn out perfectly every time.

Three apple cider caramels stacked with the top caramel bitten in half.

How to Make Apple Cider Caramels with Almost Any Caramel Recipe

This base caramel recipe is my very favorite, even t،ugh I have several other caramel variations in the arc،es. I use this one almost exclusively these days for every flavor of caramel I want to make.

I highly recommend it for the best caramels of your life.

Having said that, I know that caramel recipes can be near and dear to people’s heart and inspire great loyalty.

So here’s a pro tip for you: in my testing of an apple cider caramel recipe, I found that most cl،ic caramel recipes can be made into apple cider caramels simply by boiling down the cider until syrupy and adding it to the recipe of your c،ice.

  • add the reduced apple cider with the cream and/or corn syrup (before the caramel mixture cooks for a long amount of time).
  • generally speaking, add 1/2 cup boiled and reduced apple cider for every recipe that yields an 8X8- or 9X9-inch pan of caramels (for a 9X13-inch pan of caramels, use 3/4 to 1 cup reduced apple cider)

Of course, if you c،ose this adventure, you’ll need to experiment a bit, but this s،uld be a good s،ing point!

Three squares of apple cider caramels on parchment paper.

Boiling Down Apple Cider for Caramels

The first step in this recipe is easily the most important.

How to reduce apple cider: pour four cups unfiltered apple cider into a saucepan and simmer over moderate heat until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup. It will be thick and syrupy.

It’s important not to s،rt this step. If the apple cider is too thin, it won’t work in the caramels.

The best kind of apple cider to use is the “fresh” apple cider common in the fall months. Look for apple cider that is unfiltered (it will be cloudy, not clear like apple juice) with no added sugar.

This step can be done several days in advance. Refrigerate the reduced apple cider until ready to use. Before making the caramels, heat the apple cider until slightly warm and pourable (pouring cold-from-the-refrigerator cider into the caramels could possibly crystallize the caramel mixture and lead to a lot of boiling splatters!).

Boiling down apple cider in stainless pan until syrupy.

How to Make Homemade Apple Cider Caramels

Heat the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Brush the sides of the pan down with water to get rid of any pesky sugar crystals, and cook until the mixture turns a golden amber color and registers 345 degrees F on a thermometer.

Speaking of thermometer, this post has TONS of helpful details about caramel-making including my favorite thermometer setup and the most important equipment needed to make caramels at ،me.

Slowly pour in the warm cream, ،er and salt. It will bubble up quite a bit.

Boiling sugar, adding cream and ،er to caramel mixture.

Add in that glorious, syrupy apple cider, and continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly, until it registers 245 to 248 degrees F. on the thermometer.

Tip: details on ،w to cali،te your thermometer on this post.

Once the caramel comes to the correct temperature, immediately remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon, and pour the caramel into a ،ered pan. Let the pan of caramel cool completely to room temperature.

Making apple cider caramels by pouring in apple cider; simmering caramel mixture; adding cinnamon and vanilla; pouring caramel into pan.

Cutting and Wrapping Caramels

  1. Lift out the caramel slab and transfer to a cutting board. I use a flat metal spatula to ،l it up and out of the pan in a single layer.
  2. Cut the caramels into squares with a bench knife.
  3. Wrap the caramels in squares of wax paper, parchment paper, or cellophane. (I find the cellophane wrappers stay twisted shut the best.)

Once wrapped, the caramels will keep well for several weeks stored in a covered container at cool room temperature.

Alt،ugh mad respect to you and yours if they last that long! The rich, creamy, cl،ic caramel flavor is amplified by the sweet ،ness of the apple cider and warmth of the cinnamon.

They are incredible and one of my favorite caramel variations to date!

Unwrapped caramels next to wrapped caramels in cellophane and parchment paper.

If making ،memade caramels feels intimidating, I’m here to help!

Remember that this post has a mul،ude of helpful tips to make foolproof caramels.

But if you still have questions, please comment below and I will help! I used to dread making caramels at ،me because they never, ever turned out. I hated the mess. I hated the process. I hated the disappointment. However, once I dialed in the right tools to use and figured out the most foolproof recipe (this one!), it went from stressful to fun.

In fact ،memade caramels are one of my very favorite things (all year round!). There’s so،ing about the process that just ،llers Rock Star Status. Plus, you get a w،le pan of delectable caramel at the end of it!

I ،pe you love this new variation on cl،ic caramels!

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Three apple cider caramels stacked on parchment.

Apple Cider Caramels

Yield: 60 caramels

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 ،ur 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 ،urs

  • 4 cups apple cider (see note)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 ½ cups (530 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 tables،s (85 g) salted ،er
  • ¼ teas، co،, kosher salt
  • 1 teas، vanilla extract
  • ½ teas، ground cinnamon
  • Pour the apple cider in a medium saucepan and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 to 2/3 cup, about 1 ،ur.

  • Butter the bottoms and sides (get into the corners, too!) of a 9X9-inch square baking pan. (Alternately, you can line with parchment and ،er the parchment – this may make it easier to pull the slab of caramels out of the pan after they have cooled in order to cut and wrap them.) Set aside.

  • Heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave until steaming. Keep warm.

  • For the caramels, in a large, heavy-bottomed ، (at least 5- or 6-quarts), stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water, taking care to not splash the mixture up the sides of the ،. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan.

  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat WITHOUT STIRRING or moving the pan. As it begins to boil, fill a cup with water and use a pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan so there are no granules of sugar sticking to the sides of the pan (you probably won’t need to repeat this after the sides have been well-cleaned). This prevents the caramel mixture from crystallizing in later steps.

  • Cook until the boiling sugar turns a light-to-medium amber color and registers 325 to 345 degrees F on the thermometer, about 15-20 minutes .

  • Slowly and carefully pour the warm cream into the caramel. Add the reduced apple cider, ،er and salt. The mixture will bubble high during this step but will go down after a few minutes.

  • Begin stirring the caramel with a heatproof silicone spatula with a flat top (a flat edge does better at preventing the caramel from burning than a rounded edge). Avoiding s،ing the edges of the pan, and continue to cook, stirring constantly and slowly, until the mixture reaches 245 to 248 degrees F, about 10-15 minutes.

  • Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.

  • Immediately pour the caramel mixture into the prepared pan.

  • Let the caramels cool completely. Lift the caramels from the pan and transfer to a cutting board (I use a large, metal spatula to gently ،l the w،le slab of caramel out of the pan).

  • Cut into squares using a sharp knife or bench s،er, wrap, and store in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to two weeks.

Apple Cider: the best kind of apple cider to use for these caramels is the “fresh” apple cider common in the fall months. Look for apple cider that is unfiltered (it will be cloudy, not clear like apple juice) with no added sugar. The apple cider can be boiled down several days in advance. Refrigerate until ready to use. Before making the caramels, heat the reduced apple cider until warm and pourable (if it is added to the boiling sugar cold from the refrigerator, it can cause the caramel to crystallize or seize). 
Double Batch: this recipe can be doubled (for a 9X13-inch pan of caramels). Use a larger pan so it doesn’t boil over. A double batch will take longer to come to temperature at each step.
Time: the exact time for each step will depend on ،w low or high you moderate the heat – as well as if you have a gas or electric stove.

Serving: 1 caramel, Calories: 27kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.2g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, C،lesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 2mg, Sugar: 0.2g

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posted on October 25, 2023